Erik Thomas Ruiz has had no contact with friends or family since that day. Ruiz is 5-foot-9, 185 pounds with brown eyes and short brown hair. Tina Sprouse, Ruiz’s aunt, said Ruiz’s girlfriend was the last person to speak to him.
“She said she saw him that day and he gave her some money to put minutes on his phone and to buy some things at the store,” Sprouse said. “That was the last time any of us have heard from him.”
Sprouse said family members are concerned because this isn’t common for Ruiz.
“He always calls and checks in with his family, especially his girlfriend,” she said. “We are very worried about him and are praying he’s safe.”
Carbon Hill Police Chief Heath Allred said his department took a missing persons report on Ruiz and is working on locating him.
“We’ve entered his name into the nationwide database, and we’ve been actively searching to find his whereabouts,” Allred said.
A cell phone, believed to be Ruiz’s, was located in a wooded area of Marion County, Allred said.
“A pair of hunters found the phone in the woods,” he said. “We’ve contacted police in Marion County as well as surrounding areas to help locate Mr. Ruiz.”
Allred said he couldn’t rule out anything in regards to the disappearance.
“I don’t want to alarm anyone, but we are concerned for Mr. Ruiz and we want to help this family find their loved one,” he said.
Police are also searching for a person of interest in the case, Allred said.
“This is a person we feel might have more information,” he said. “He also hasn’t been seen since that day, but a missing person report has not been filed on him.”
Allred asked that anyone with information about the case contact the Carbon Hill Police Department at 205-924-4411.